They rejected a book review I wrote for Amber Stokes' novel Forget Me Not.
I was stunned.
How can they do that?
They sent me the list of their book review guidelines. (I didn't even realize that there were such things) But what puzzled me was I had met all the guidelines. They did have a reference number so I was able to email them and ask why. They did answer back and said I had a personal relationship with her so they felt the review would be biased. How they knew that she was my editor and publicist is beyond me. But she has plenty of great reviews so I am not too concerned. Personally, I think that God knew I was going to write this post about book reviews and made sure I had the guidelines. He does have a sense of humor.
So please note that there are guidelines to writing a book review on Amazon. I also write reviews on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble and christianbooks.com. When I write a review, I copy the first one and then just paste into the others. Saves bunches of time.
So that being said, I want to talk about the world of book reviews that I discovered through my publicist, Amber Stokes. When my books were released, she set up cover reveals and blog tours. I had no idea there were so many wonderful bloggers out there giving the most remarkable book reviews on their websites and/or blog sites. I have interviewed several of them and asked them how they got started and why they feature book reviews. I found their reasons varied and interesting.
Rachelle Rea has an excellent website for book reviews called Inspiring Daring.
Rachelle says: It all began quite organically, really. I love books, so when I realized my blog could be a place to write about the books I've read recently, I ran with it! I believe my first reviews may have been written for Kindred Grace's annual March of Books...which is coming up, actually! Receiving emails from authors interested in providing me with review copies in exchange for honest reviews is pretty neat. When that started happening, I realized how powerful book reviews really are in the ever-changing world of publicity and book promoting. To be able to contribute is a wonderful thing--because it means I'm supporting authors I enjoy and enabling them to write more!
GUIDE FOR WRITING BOOK REVIEWS IN BLOGS
On RACHELLE'S site she has one of the best guides for writing book reviews for blogs or websites that I have encountered. This guide also includes a list of publishers that she reviews for with links to their sites. So if you think you might like to write reviews check this out. Great info Rachelle. Thank you.
Kav is a regular on Seekerville. I knew she was a librarian, but I didn't know she reviewed books on her blog Best Reads. Here is what she says about reviewing books:
Ann Lee Miller writes reviews on her site My Two Cents Worth for practical reasons. She wanted a venue to publicize her own books and what she does works for her. Here's what she says when asked why she writes reviews:
Hits on my website drastically increased and stay healthy as I blog. My book sales are steady. It's fun when readers occasionally comment on the blog or on Facebook about a book review.
I was tired of reading books that were full of "bad" content, so I started blogging as a way to help others find clean reads, and give content ratings. Plus, the free books were extra motivation! ;) I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers that love books as much as me. I have a hard time convincing my "real life" family/friends of the complete joy of getting lost in a great read. It's always a joy to pick up a book that another blogger has recommended! It's also always a joy to get to recommend a book that I loved, especially when another reader adds a book to their "favorites" list because of it.
And Virginia Carmichael Munoz on her site The Things That Last will occasionally write a book review. She featured LOVE'S MIRACLES and I thought did an outstanding job. She has also featured Tina, KC Frantzen and others.
If you follow Seekerville at all you know Vince and probably love him as much as we do. He does have a blog that features some of the best reviews I've ever read. Please be advised that if you go to his blog Philosophy of Romance you will have to go to past blog posts as he has been extremely busy with a project these past two months. In fact, we are very fortunate to get these words of wisdom, but he needed a break. smile
When asked why he writes reviews he answered:It has been said that the best way to learn anything is to teach it. Writing reviews is like teaching. First, you have to understand the material before you can present it well to someone else.
And of course there is Amber Stokes where I started in this wonderful world of book reviews.Amber has a wonderful website called Seasons of Humility that includes a page for book reviews. Interestingly enough she started because of a university assignment also. And she contacted Renee for advice on getting started. Consequently, Amber has some great advice especially if you are interested in getting started.
There are several things I’ll often discuss in a review: whether or not the characters are authentic and/or endearing, the setting drew me in, the plot kept me engaged, and the writing impressed me. I especially like to convey those times when a book resonates with me—when something unique about the story charms me, and when the story as a whole affects me and touches me deeply. If a book makes me cry or feel some sort of strong emotion, I take that as a sign of gifted storytelling. I like to provide summary statements, usually emphasizing the story’s strengths, what other readers might also enjoy about it, and the take-away message/value. But I also think it’s important to note the things that readers might not care for. For much of my blog audience, that would include crude language and sexual content, in addition to noting when the plot is slow, the characters are frustrating or unrealistic, etc. I believe in looking for and sharing the good in a book, but I also highly value honesty in reviews—thereby finding a balance between being encouraging but also helpful to both the reader and the author.
Here are some other sites that participated in my blog tour:
Flowers of Quiet Happiness
The Curried Nut
Edgy Inspirational Romance
My Favorite Pastime
Tell The World
The Wonderings of One Person / all about books
Buzzing About Books
Come Meet Ausjenny
I also want to thank our friend Marianne Barkman who faithfully writes reviews for Goodreads and Amazon.
A little birdie named Virginia told that these Seekerville friends also have book review sites:
Books I've Read
Inspirational Historical Fiction Index
So Seekerville and friends.
Do you look at book reviews before ordering a book?
How much weight do you give them in selecting a book?
What do you look for in a book review?
Do you have any great book review sites that you like to follow?
Do you write book reviews?
Answer any of these questions and be in the drawing for a Seeker ebook of your choice. (Or if you want a print copy, you can have your choice of one of mine or one of Julie's Romance-ology 101)
I have provided a platter of fresh fruits (peeled and sliced already) so you don't have an excuse. :)
There are still oranges on my tree, apples, pineapple, mango, strawberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries.
I still have free audio copies of LOVE'S MIRACLES and LOVE'S REFUGE if you are interested in doing a review in audible.com. They don't have guidelines yet, but they have about 4 or 5 set questions they ask and they suggest you answer in 15 words or less. It is pretty easy. The reason audible doesn't carry over reviews from Amazon books is that the narrator is also rated. I discovered in my own listening that this makes a big difference in whether you like a book or not.
If you want a free copy of an audio use my contact form on my website at sandraleesmith.com
You only need to fill in your email address and in the subject put free audio.
Have a great day.
And get those fingers ready for Speedbo.
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